Why Choose China?

Posted by Ge Cuason on 22. Mar 2009

The introduction of a newbie writer is difficult to come up with. You're forced to think of witty and interesting information to write about yourself with the hope of enticing your readers. And then you have to think if you're going to use a cool nickname or just go with whatever your parents gave you. Not to mention you have to post a cool picture of yourself so that people won't think the writer is some sort of a geeky person. (So, I shall post one with a cleavage then, screw the readership, I just want traffic!)

Just kidding about the cleavage. But that caught your eye, didn't it?

There will be no boob-flashing here because this is a column that targets the foreign and local students. As I am fairly new here in China, six months and counting, I have my own share of experiences and memories that I would like to share with fellow foreign students, old and new alike, just for laughs or to pick up some tips.

But not only that, hopefully this column would also help the local Chinese students understand better what it's like living in China through the eyes of a waiguo student.

I am very excited to write for this site. To write as a student, Chinese foreigner (yup, I'm Chinese but the passport says I'm Filipino), as a cheap traveller (Trains are the bomb!), consumer (The milk scare! The bird scare! What's next?), as a daughter (I think I've managed to divorce this one), as a good friend (I'm a good friend when friends are drunk) and more names coming soon as I extend my stay for another x-months to study Mandarin here in Beijing. Then hopefully, I will soon be called an employee earning her own cheese and living in her own digs in the land called the Middle Kingdom!

Why did I choose to come to China?

Pretty much everyone I know back home comes to China just to study a few months, then go back and look for a job. And then some others haven't started Univeristy yet, so they come to China to study. Yep, they call it a "gap year." It is just here in China that I've heard of the term "gap year" with Westerners. It wasn't that popular during my time. (Ok, this gives my age away!)

What gap year? It's either we go straight to University, or go straight to University. We don't have much of a choice, really.

I was working back home for five years straight. And I just felt really burned out that time. I just broke up with my boyfriend of five years (another good reason to leave home), so I decided to leave everything and just go back to being a bum and come here to China to study. And since I'm Chinese, why not study the language? I'll be more legit because I can speak, read and listen Mandarin properly, right? And it's easier to enter China through "study."

My first impression of Beijing?

The subway! I love the subway! Even if your Chinese reading skills are zilch, you'll never get lost with all those signs and arrows and pinyin that you see everywhere. Back home, we just have two subway lines! But the subway crowd here is crazy! (Actually, crowds anywhere here in China is nuts!) They actually push you even when the crowd is not moving. Seems like the personal bubble here in China is unheard of.

In Philippines, there are carriages in subway (actually, it's called MRT/LRT: Metro/Light Rail Transit) that only allow females, children and the elderly onboard. Women rarely go to the mixed carriage.

Here, men don't care if you have boobs, they will push you out of the way. So just be weary and don't get mad if you've been elbowed out of the way, especially with the elders. I guess it's part of how they were brought up, since Chinese are used to be grouped together in crowds before.

I have so much more to say! But it seems I would take up more space than I am allowed. So please join me in my future rants and raves as I dive into a world full of surprises and experiences in this country called China!

Oh, and to minimize the anonymousness of the author: I am currently studying at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU). I love good ol' ice cold beer on a hot weather (and if not beer, coffee then), great conversations, travelling and photography. Try shouting my name on the BLCU campus while holding up a beer; maybe someone will turn and look!

But then again, who wouldn't?


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